Monday, February 20, 2017

Sailing Little Farmers Cay to George Town
This satellite photo shows our course today, most of it in water over 1500 feet deep. The turquoise waters are the shallow areas and the "wrinkles" are enormous sand bars. At 0815, we anchored up with Sharon and Craig of IP38 Bonavista, for a fantastic sailing day of 43 nautical miles. Our 45 minutes of engine time included getting off anchor on the Little Farmer's sand bar, raising the main sail and motoring out Farmer's Cut from the banks to the ocean. We immediately shut down the engine and rolled out the jib, setting a course for George Town 40 nm south east. Winds were steady at 13 - 16 knots from the NNE, giving us a beautiful beam reach. As we approached Conch Cut, the entrance to George Town, we were able to sail straight into the cut and then reach all the way into the harbor. It was fun sailing directly to Chat 'n Chill. We dropped sails, started the engine and motored up towards the beach, setting our anchor at 1600 in 10 feet of water. The 55 lb Rocna set quickly into the sand, concluding a great day of sailing. Now we can take in some of the activities here and visit with cruising buddies. George Town looks like there are far more boats here that we have seen in our 3 previous visits. We heard there may be over 400 yachts here for the Regatta that starts Saturday. We plan to ride out the next weather system here on Wednesday/Thursday and then possibly Friday/Saturday sail to Cat Island and discover something new. For now, welcome to George Town, Exuma!

Here are the sailing photos of the day.
Radeen as we motor back out to the boat from Little Farmer's Yacht Club
Setting sail for George Town.
The ocean is THIS BLUE when the sun is out

Sailing into the morning sun

Beautiful beam reaching, heading south

We love to see the flag flying to the side, this means beam winds

Again, the water is so blue, so beautiful

Our new B&G custom screen displaying the 3 apps that I chose.
L to R: Sailsteer, Autopilot and Instruments. Sorry it is not more clear.
On this screen, winds show 14.3 knots, SOG was 6.4 knots, and autopilot was holding a 106 degree wind angle

There it is, Chat 'n Chill, out the porthole.

Blue water and palm trees from our boat.

Our next thoughts are about the weather. Our professional weather man, Chris Parker, has presented several options for Wednesday/Thursday ranging from a full blown low developing with clocking winds to 35 knots and squalls to 50 knots or possibly only SE winds at 20 knots. We will have to deal with this on anchor with all 400 boats. We will move out to where we can lay out more chain and have plenty of room to swing. For tonite and tomorrow, there is only 15-20 knots of wind, so we have time for some fun!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Exuma Bahamas Life

We are lost in the beautiful cruising life of the Exumas in the heart of the Bahamas. Days are moving between beach walks, snorkeling, swimming, trail hikes, visiting with boat buddies, talking about routes and places to go, on and on and on. All the while surrounded by the most beautiful water of teal blue, crystal clear where we see the bottom in 20-25 feet when we drop the anchor. We can not imagine a more beautiful place to sail. Yes, we are outbound from here to the Eastern Caribbean, and we know that is beautiful as well, but we are a bit sad to sail out of the Exumas as this is the most beautiful place we have ever explored. But we need to explore onward and we need to discover new harbors with Island Spirit, so onward south.

We have been running off wind and solar
We have spent the last week in Cambridge Cay, Staniel Cay, Black Point and now Little Farmer's Cay. We are pushing south to George Town because the weather forecasts have been the most confusing of all times. Chris Parker is offering up 4 situations from calms to deep low pressures. Then the Grib files show no big deal, just 15-20 maybe 25 knots east winds, typical. So with this confusing forecast, we are making a run for the safe harbor of George Town where 300+ yachts are anchored. Then next week it is the George Town Regatta and we plan to sail over to CAT Island where we have never been. We hear this is a great island to meet the locals and to explore. We hope to sail out there and learn all about Cat Island.

Typical water color when looking off the stern, unreal
Then we plan to sail back to George Town and prepare for our run to the USVI. We will need to fuel up and change filters and service the engine. Then plan out the final run and look for a good weather winter to run from George Town to the Turks and Caicos and then south to the Dominica Republic and on east to the US Virgin Islands. We have leaned that it is 200 nm to the Turks and then about 150 to the DR. Radeen and I are used to running 240 nm from Cape May, NJ up to Block Island, RI, so these runs are not large, just new to us. We are getting excited to head south. Every year, in March, we have turned around and headed north to Abaco where we usually send April, then in May we run the USA east coast to Rock Hall, MD. This year, we will take that time and run it south and we should end up in Grenada. That is the plan. We will see how far we get. One thing is for sure, we are not heading north, we are heading south. For now, we just need to get to George Town. One leg at a time, that is how we are doing this. 

Here are tons of photos of the past week....

Walking Staniel Cay, we found this

Staniel Cay, typical beach

Blue water anchored off Thunderball Grotto

Radeen and Cynthia sure take a beautiful photo, Staniel Cay Yacht Club

Radeen holding up Bell Rock, Cambridge Cay

The beach walks at Cambridge Cay are priceless

The beach to ourselves

Let's go for a beach walk

Happy Valentine's Day, 2017, 37 years since we engaged

Swimming off Cambridge Cay

Sunset Cambridge Cay

Two Calm days with sun shades up

Dinghy run to Compass Cay to see the marina

A beach walk with cruising friends

The 35 knot squall arrived

B&G Wind Plot data shows peak winds at 34.6 knots

The cruising buddies at Black Point, Linda, Cat, and Radeen

Too funny, I was called "Mr. C" as a teacher

How to haul your boat with the mail boat crane

Lift it up

Lift it over the mail boat

Lower it to your trailer

There it is on the boat trailer, way coo
This is the CMAP navigation chip, which pays for Explored data
Compare this to the next screen

This is WHY Navionics is NO GOOD in the Exuams
It says I am in 3 foot water on a sand bar. NOPE, it is not here.

Off to Little Farmer's Yacht Club

We meet Roosevelt Nixon, who built the yacht club 28 years ago.

Check out the cool bar

The resaraunt where boaters come in for dinner

That is us anchored off the club

The Little Farmer's yacht Club

The Dinghy Dock

Heading Home, Radeen and Island Spirit

Island Spirit on anchor off Little Farmer's
 So, life is good aboard Island Spirit, we so doing well, we are moving south, and we are loving the Watermaker. We are now running it 2-3 hours at a time every other day. We have all the water we want. What a treat in the Bahamas. Next stop....George Town.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Cambridge Cay Photos

Happy Valentine's Day from Cambridge Cay in the Exumas Land and Sea Park which is the most beautiful place on earth. We think this is even better than Warderick Wells, but you will need to sail here yourself and decide if this is true. For now, simply enjoy these photos which need no explanation, just take in the beauty.

click this photo and look left and right, UNREAL....our own private beach and there are about 6 of these at least.

Remember, Click on these photos for full screen images

Thinking and praying for Kathy and Eric as Kathy powers through Ovarian Cancer treatment, you are in our thoughts daily....

Cambridge Cay is beautiful and here is where it is located.